All tradies want more business. There’s nothing sweeter than seeing your numbers grow as you put in the hard work. But the only way to get more business is to sell more, which is easy to say, but hard to do.
Selling more is more complex than it sounds. Conventional wisdom will tell you to go out there and sell your services to as many people as possible, even without a specific objective. While this may get you sales in the short-run, the absence of structure to your sales method can leave you confused and disorganised. Worse, it may hurt your future prospects of making more and better sales.
At this point, your best move is to find the right method (or methods) to boost your sales. Having a method means having a plan with clear steps—no scrambling in the dark, no “winging it”, no leaving it up to chance.
In this article, we’ll go over a number of methods used by expert tradies to drive sales that you can also apply in your own tradie business.
3 Best Methods for Boosting Sales for Tradies
- Method #1 – Boost Sales by Aiming for Trust
- Method #2 – Use Data to Boost Sales
- Method #3 – Be Systematic When Boosting Sales
Method #1 – Boost Sales by Aiming for Trust
In our experience, few things can boost sales quite like earning a client’s trust quickly and completely.
Ever encounter a client that refuses to listen to your proposals and insists on doing things their way? This is a sign that they’re more confident in pursuing their own solutions versus trusting your earned expertise. But once you get them to trust you, they become more receptive to your solutions. They tend to listen more.
Trust is also a must-have when you know you’re billing them a major expense. They have to trust that you’re procuring the best materials and using your time wisely on the job to give them the best results.
Finally, trust wins repeat customers. Repeat customers are crucial to your sales because they spend more on your business than new customers do on average. More importantly, repeat customers become your business’ best advocates and can be more willing to lend their efforts to your referral programs.
Now that you know why aiming for trust is important when it comes to boosting your sales, here are three ways you can try to do it.
1. Build trust by improving your team’s communication skills
The fastest way to achieve better communication quickly is by adjusting your mindset. There’s a vast difference between “professional” and “invested”, and in a service business, it pays to wear both hats.
It’s no crime to want to be seen as cool, impassive experts in your field. However, it’s also important to make it crystal clear to your customers that you know the impact of your work on their quality of life. Being able to communicate that you care about your customers is key in getting them to trust you.
2. Build trust by adding value whenever possible
Adding value by giving free quotations, check-ups, and the odd extra service is a good way to establish rapport. People, clients especially, love free stuff. It gives them a sense that they’re getting more than their money’s worth, and will really enjoy working with you.
Sending along small freebies to your clients lets them know that you’re thinking about them, whether or not there’s ongoing work.
When possible, make sure your business goes the extra mile for clients and exceeds their expectations. This makes your relationship with your clients feel more like a relationship rather than just a transaction.
3. Build trust by checking in periodically
Checking in from time to time to make sure your clients are happy with your work can go a long way. A simple text asking if the roof is still in good shape, or if they need other work done can spell the difference when it comes to how your clients perceive you.
Check-ins help you stay top-of-mind, improve your feedback and reviews, and even source valuable referrals down the line.
Clients will almost always have friends who’ll need your services eventually. You’ll want your current clients to sing your praises to their friends if you want to boost your sales.
Your end goal is to be the first friend they’d call when they need help getting repair work done.
Method #2 – Use Data to Boost Sales
This method is often underappreciated among tradies. It’s understandable. After all, how can data boost sales in a craft as practical as tradie work?
Tradie work has always been mostly based on gut feel, common sense, or anecdotal evidence. You just know what times of year see the highest demand for repair work, and you have your own tested ideas about where to find the best customers.
At best, those are maybe’s. Without a record of your past work, a quick geographical proving of where most of your clients are, or an objective examination of which times of year see the greatest demand for work, you’re speculating on what your business’ future will look like, as opposed to having a degree of certainty on how events are likely to play out.
For a clearer picture, look at these three key insights that data can provide you.
1. It tells you where you are
The record of your data can show you your strengths and weaknesses. It can show you that you might’ve done a good job for a certain project, but not so great in another one. These strengths and weaknesses may come from both self-evaluations and customer feedback.
From your data, you can also make a client scorecard, which will gauge your relationship based on strengths and weaknesses with each of your current clients, and help you improve your service level and generate better business in the future.
Your data will also give you insight when it comes to possible opportunities. These opportunities can be improvements in skills or business management, or opportunities to touch base with your customers.
2. It tells you where you’ve been
Your data can also help you deep-dive on your past efforts. When wrapping up work with clients, tradies often just pack up and move on to the next one. Using data will allow you to look at your past work more closely, and understand why your efforts have succeeded or failed.
Knowing where you’ve been can help you avoid past mistakes. Having a clearer picture of what actually transpired during your projects or during a business cycle will give you real insights when it comes to what went wrong and what else you can improve, compared to if you’re revisiting these projects from memory alone.
At the same time, you can also use data to reward yourself for the good work you’ve done so far. Rewarding yourself can also help boost sales, as it gives you more confidence that you can get it done.
3. It tells you where you might end up
When you have data, you don’t only have information about the past or the present, you can also look into the future. With the power of forecasting, you can try to see how your business’ financial position will look like in a given period.
Forecasting compels you to have a good look at prospective work and possible expenses, therefore making it easier for you to create a budget. Seeing what your future might look like and how you want it to look like enables you to set metrics that matter to you. This, in turn, will allow you to set reasonable targets and monitor your progress.
Our friends at Xero have their own quick list of methods to get you started with forecasting.
All in all, working data into your business model lets you make smarter decisions. Aside from just looking at internal factors, data will also give you information about how your market works and thinks, as well as the different factors that can influence your sales.
For example, whatever your business is, there will be times when your services are more in demand compared to the rest of the year. Taking a look at seasonal trends will allow you to plan and allocate your resources better.
The knowledge you get from maximising your use of data eventually leads to smarter calls, better preparedness, and less time wasted.
Method #3 – Be Systematic When Boosting Sales
Trying to boost sales cannot be a try-everything-and-see-what-works process. Doing that is expensive and time-consuming. What you’d want is a system that’s simple yet proven to be effective.
An example of this is the sales funnel. The concept of a sales funnel has done wonders for businesses around the world since the idea was popularised. The idea behind a sales funnel is simple: your customers go through a journey, from learning about what you have to offer, to wanting it, to eventually buying it.
It’s an excellent idea to develop a flow for how to best process your leads. Note that these systems may differ across client profiles. For quick jobs, a phone call may be enough to convince a client to carry on with the project, and immediately get tradies to start the work.
Larger jobs, on the other hand, may need some extra steps. It might be better to meet with potential clients in person for work like construction or major repairs—if only so that you can have an easier time picking up on their hesitations and concerns, and addressing them quickly.
Some clients may also want to double or triple check your agreement especially for big projects. No matter the case, the funnel works at a different pace for each client.
Some will go from learning about you to buying from you, and others might take a bit more time to get from one phase of the journey to another. In any case, a clear understanding of the sales funnel allows you to prioritise the clients you believe you can capture sooner.
While a system’s key purpose is to organise the way you boost sales, no system is set in stone. Your business, trends, and customer behaviours are bound to evolve. With that in mind, your system should involve a great deal of learning and iteration.
Once you have your marketing personas, you can use them to track and sort your leads into segments. The more specific you get, the more likely you’ll understand who they are, what they really want, and how you can best serve them.
Work the habit of learning about your leads into your sales process. Capturing leads is good, but could easily go to waste when you don’t fully understand them.
As you go along, be mindful of what efforts have worked to get your clients to complete the sales funnel. At the same time, also take note of where other clients have dropped out of your funnel in the past, and analyse what went wrong to keep that from happening again.
Boosting your sales isn’t as hard if you know where to look. When you have a good understanding of your customers and your data, you’ll have a lot less to worry about because your business design is built exactly for capturing more business.
Of course, the fundamental things still apply. If you care about your customers and they know it, they’ll be inclined to continue maintaining a partnership with you. Keeping these basic things to heart will help you boost sales naturally.